Tag Archives: adaptive sports

Pennzoil, BraunAbility and PVA Provide Veterans the Gift of Mobility

Daily, thousands of Americans put their lives on the line serving in the military for our freedom. This past Memorial Day, we remembered those whose lives were lost and reminded ourselves that for many returning home, a new battle begins. In an effort to assist those who have sustained a paralyzing injury while active, Paralyzed Veterans of America (PVA), BraunAbility, and Pennzoil® teamed up to retrofit three vehicles in an effort to give back the gift of mobility to paralyzed veterans.

Pennzoil Lovethecarbusiness campaign

Hank Ebert retired Navy veteran receiving a wheelchair accessible vehicle from BraunAbility and Pennzoil

Hank Ebert, was one of those veterans who received a retrofitted BraunAbility Toyota Sienna minivan, featuring the latest technology in assisting paralyzed drivers, as part of Pennzoil’s “Love Your Car” program, a partnership they created with the PVA. Hank was a U.S. Navy veteran, and served four years in the Navy as a crewman on a rescue helicopter in Vietnam. Today, despite his injury, Ed stays active as he participates in the Veteran’s Wheelchair games, is a fishing guide, and an die hard drag racing fan. Ed was lucky enough to have been nominated by his local PVA chapter in Minnesota to receive the custom vehicle, and as you can see from the video, he was overwhelmed by the generosity.

“I’m incredibly excited. It hasn’t even sunk in yet how excited I am,” said U.S. Navy veteran, Hank Ebert. “From winning this vehicle, to being flown to Charlotte to see my first NASCAR race, to being here with all my friends to celebrate, it’s just awesome.”

Today, there are more than 44,000 American veterans living with paralysis and the effects of rising healthcare costs. These are veterans, who have been here for us, and are now in a great need of support. Which has led to the mission of the PVA’s “ABLE” campaign, which was developed to help the nation’s paralyzed veterans rebuild their lives. With support from companies like Pennzoil, Mission: ABLE will continue to provide American disabled veterans with the tools to help them regain their mobility.

SOCHI / RUSSIA / DISABILTIES

Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the start of the year, you’re very likely familiar with the Winter Olympics being held in Sochi this year.
But what you may not be aware of is the heated history that Russia has had in terms to accommodating those with disabilities. It was an issue that was seen here and there during events in Sochi but have origins from elsewhere in the country’s history.
It began in 1980 when the Summer Olympic Games were held in Moscow. During this time, the then Soviet Union would not play host to the Paralympics, despite the fact that the two events are typically held at the same location. Their reasoning was that “there are no invalids in the USSR.” Of course, this is not true. Recent polling indicates that at least 9% of the population has some sort of disability.
The lack of wheelchair accessible ramps and elevators are a constant obstacle throughout the country. Many disabled individuals stay confined to their homes for days on end because they have no way of getting out.
Many saw Sochi as a prime opportunity for Russia to mend any fences that might have been broken during the 80s when they made such a stance. Unfortunately, much of that same mindset was still present. But athletes arrived at the location only to find that there were still many hindrances.
Wheelchair accessible transportation was severely lacking. Doorways were not wide enough to allow the passage of larger wheelchairs. Other doors and their frames were raised from the floor in most venues. Wheelchair access to buildings that were handicap accessible were often hard to find or in poor condition.
While Russia is certainly not the only country in the world that is not doing enough to accommodate its handicapped population or visitor with disabilities, the events at Sochi make it clear that they have much work to do.

Basketball Star with a Physical Challenge Signs with Florida

Disabilty? What Disabilty…

Zach Hodskins is a force to be reckoned with. You see, Zach hasn’t let a physical challenge get in the way of his dreams. At 6’4”, 200 pounds, Zach has not only overcome life’s challenges, but he has become a skilled 3 point shooter despite not having a left forearm.

But it wasn’t always that way for Hodskins. In fact, he says growing up was a little tough, and he remembers regularly thanking God for giving him the will and motivation to overcome the obstacles, and crushing the doubters.

Well, it appears his hard work is about to pay off. Recently after drawing the attention of numerous Division 1 teams, Zach received the news of a lifetime, and Zach signed with Florida as a preferred walk-on! That’s right, Billy Donovan Florida!

Truly inspiring, Zach has once again crushed the doubters, and has simultaneously knocked down additional barriers that many with a physical challenge face daily. In fact, Zach’s skills and talents have even gone on to amaze the liking of a special celebrity, Beyonce. She recently tweeted on Zach’s success and talents, and hailed Zach as a, “True inspiration”.

We will keep an eye on Zach and his adventure, and we wish him the best of luck. Who knows, maybe with a celebrity like Beyonce watching, Zach can keep his dreams alive, and look to play professionally. Her hubby is sure to know a few owners here and there, and could always put in a good word.

Congratulations Zach!

To see footage of Zach, and his amazing skills visit:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0kEyJ-tToo&feature=player_embedded